For greater than a decade, Alexis Arnold has been intrigued by the evolving nature of print. Her ongoing assortment, titled Crystallized Books, transforms novels, guides, and maps into gleaming sculptures that contemplate how we worth and use objects. “Whereas I began the collection in 2011 partly as a response to the vulnerability of printed media, it’s been good to see a return to the cultural worth of printed media whereas engaged on the collection over the previous 12 years. It’s additionally been fascinating (and at instances technically irritating) to see the standard of guide printing and binding decline as I’ve been engaged on the collection,” she says.
To create the works, the Oakland-based artist (previously) submerges discovered volumes right into a sizzling tub of water and borax. “When water boils, its molecules increase, and because the saturated water cools once more, the molecules shrink and any extra borax crystallizes,” Arnold tells Colossal. Out of the swimming pools come books coated with dense, translucent clusters that stabilize the objects as warped, crinkled mounds.
As a result of the crystals make the textual content tough—or inconceivable—to parse, the books within the collection grow to be notable for his or her materiality. Most of the titles Arnold works with have cultural or private significance, like To Kill a Mockingbird or A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, whereas others reference the waning relevance of print. Area guides and maps are sometimes accessible on-line, for instance, making a guide much less needed but additionally extra treasured as a relic of instances previous.
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